Cinnamon is a very interesting spice that has been praised for its taste and medicinal qualities throughout history. Cinnamon is a culinary spice that is sourced from the inner bark of trees from the Cinnamomum genus. Most of the cinnamon that is sourced is either Ceylon (true) cinnamon or cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon has a strong, spicy flavor where Ceylon cinnamon has a more aromatic and richer flavor. Cinnamon’s culinary and medical uses have references in Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Hebrew culture. 1 2

There are big differences between the main forms of cinnamon, cassia, and Ceylon. If you ingest cinnamon as a spice or take it in supplement form, you want to make sure that it is produced from Ceylon cinnamon. Both forms of cinnamon contain coumarin, which is a natural blood-thinning agent but is hepatotoxic. Ceylon cinnamon contains minute amounts of coumarin compared to cassia cinnamon. Coumarin detoxification requires proper liver function and activation of the cytochrome P450 gene CYP2A6. If you have a polymorphism in CYP2A6, you need to avoid cassia cinnamon if all possible. Proper detoxification of coumarin will be lessened, and increased risk of liver damage may occur. Both cassia and ceylon cinnamon bark contain cinnamaldehyde as the main natural antimicrobial agent, where their leaves contain eugenol. 3 4 5

What Are The Benefits of Ingesting Cinnamon?

Cinnamon contains powerful antioxidants. Cinnamon is rated as one of the highest spices with antioxidant potential. 6 7

Ceylon cinnamon reduces insulin resistance. Cinnamon is also able to mimic insulin when needed to help reduce blood glucose levels. 8 9

Ceylon cinnamon has been shown to help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. It may help with Alzheimer’s disease by improve glucose intolerance by the brain and body. It also reduces brain inflammation and tau aggregation, which are two of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Cinnamon helps protect the neurons that produce dopamine in the brain, which would help reduce the decline in health in someone with Parkinson’s disease. 10 11 12

Ceylon cinnamon may help protect the brain from neurodegenerative disorders and increase BDNF. 13

Cinnamaldehyde in ceylon cinnamon has been found to be a mast cell stabilizer. Cinnamon does contain a low amount of histamine, but stabilization of mast cells maybe a net positive in people with histamine intolerance. 14

Ceylon cinnamon helps to regulate the Th1 / Th2 / Th 17 immune system. Cinnamon reduces TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta, TH-17, IL-6 (may increase yeast overgrowth on the skin), Il-8, NF-kB. Cinnamon increases IL-10. Cinnamon has potent anti-inflammatory potential. Since, cinnamon does increase IL-10 it may increase Th2 slightly. 15 16

How Can Cinnamon Help Our Digestive Health?

Cinnamon is a very important herb when it comes to improving our digestive health and in tackling differing conditions like SIBO, upper gut overgrowth, diabetes, and MAP (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease). Cinnamon reduces inflammation, helps to regulate our immune system, and reduce bacterial overgrowth.

Cinnamon in studies seems to have many very potent antimicrobial properties. In studies against pathogenic bacteria, cinnamon showed the highest antibacterial properties, out of many different natural essential oils (including limonene, carvacrol, and thymol). Cinnamon oil contains anti-yeast properties as well, but because it slightly elevates Th2 and people with yeast issues have trouble detoxing aldehydes, I cannot recommend its use. The main antibacterial agent in cinnamon oil seems to be cinnamaldehyde. I recommend using Ceylon cinnamon essential oil to help reduce bacterial overgrowth in the gut. Cinnamon oil has also been found in studies to reduce diarrhea and LPS-induced (Gram negative bacteria produced endotoxins) leaky gut by fixing dysbiosis. 17 18 19 20 21

The known pathogenic bacteria that are weak to Ceylon cinnamon oil are as follows:

Ceylon cinnamon oil should be used with caution in people with severe gastrointestinal ulceration, blood clotting issues, hypoglycemia, pregnant (causes premature uterine contractions), or are taking anticoagulant medicine. Ceylon cinnamon oil may cause issues in people with elevated Th2 immune system (histamine intolerance) because of its metabolite benzoic acid. Ceylon cinnamon oil does however help to stabilize mast cells as well, so it is worth trying if you have gut dysbiosis and mild histamine intolerance. Cinnamon may also delay gastric emptying so it might need to be avoided in people with gastroparesis. 37

My Cinnamon Brand Recommendations and How to Take It

I recommend using a pure distilled essential oil of Ceylon cinnamon and diluting it in a carrier oil like organic extra virgin olive oil or organic extra virgin coconut oil. One to two drops mixed well in 1 ½ teaspoon, taking twice daily with meals is recommended in certain protocols in Fix Your Gut to help with bacterial dysbiosis.


  2. Herron, John. The Gut Health Protocol, Eagle Stock Publishing, 2015.
  3. Herron, John. The Gut Health Protocol, Eagle Stock Publishing, 2015.
  9. Balch, Phyllis. Prescription for Herbal Healing, Avery Publishing, 2012.
  19. Herron, John. The Gut Health Protocol, Eagle Stock Publishing, 2015.
  37. Herron, John. The Gut Health Protocol, Eagle Stock Publishing, 2015.